The term 'graphic design' was coined in the 1920s, though the printing process had always involved a significant element of design. David Jury's Graphic Design Before Graphic Designers: The Printer As Designer & Craftsman 1700-1914 explores "the printer's contribution to graphic design prior to it becoming a profession in its own right".
The book considers graphic design avant la lettre, from both technical and artistic perspectives. Jury traces the history of printing technology, from engraving and letterpress to lithography and photography. He also discusses the various design movements of the period, including Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, and stylistic trends in typography. The book itself is attractively designed, with chapters alternating between essays on the development of "jobbing printing" and glossy reproductions of posters, periodicals, and other ephemera.
Jury's survey covers the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which saw the birth of mass communication after the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of advertising. Published by Thames & Hudson, it includes over 500 colour illustrations. A History Of Graphic Design and Graphic Design: A New History cover the complete history of graphic design. The Book: A Global History includes a chapter on printed ephemera. The Art Of The Print (Fritz Eichenberg) is still the best book on the art and technology of printing, though 500 Years Of Printing (SH Steinberg) and Prints & Visual Communication (William M Ivins) are also useful. Printing Types (Daniel Updike; two volumes) is the standard history of typography.